Heeeeey Halitosis

As Nightlife, I have noticed a little problem from more than half of the people I talk to during those intimate moments. No, not pillow talk. I’m referring to those situations at clubs where people bellow and spit in my face while the deafening boom boom beats blare at us from the subwoofers.

The problem that has come to my attention is: halitosis. Chronic bad breath that makes me want to scream: “STFU. No really. Shutchomauth!” And walk away. But with social etiquette demanding, I don’t. I grin and bear the wafting infernal fumes emanating from your mouth.

Now please don’t be embarrassed. I’ve observed that this particular predicament is really plaguing more than 50 percent of the people I converse with during the night—mostly those who are no longer in their twenties, (when your body can still handle all the shit it ingests). It’s only inevitable that one suffers from halitosis if one leads a nocturnal lifestyle. When the people that do not party have already brushed their teeth and gone to bed, the party people have yet to halt any form of consumption and thoroughly clean their oral cavities. And so the naturally occurring bacterial populations in our mouths party with us all night long, thriving on the remnants of decomposing food deposits.

To make matters worse, we are still drinking wine and cocktails with sweet liqueurs, fruit juices or syrups throughout the night, and most will be smoking. Tsk tsk. Now alcohol and smoking both dry out the oral tissues, and decreased moisture in the mouth limits the washing and buffering effect of saliva, our bodies’ own natural mouthwash. That sweet oral nectar contains compounds that kill bacteria and buffer their waste products, the main culprits for creating bad breath. There are the VSCs (volatile sulfur compounds) and other fascinating waste byproducts such as Cadaverine (the grim stench of dead bodies), Isovaleric acid (the rank tang of sweaty feet), Putrescine (the foul compound produced by decaying meat) and Skatole (smells like shit). Hand over mouth and smelling your breath now, love?

Gum, mints and mouthwashes do not cure halitosis because they don’t eradicate the source of bad breath, the sulfur-containing compounds of the bacteria populating the rear of your tongue and between your teeth.

Remove the bacterial coating on your tongue twice daily with very well designed and effective German and Japanese tongue scrapers available at Log-On. Or use a spoon if you’re cheap.

You’d better perfect your brushing and flossing technique to effectively take out any plaque (schnasty food debris) around your teeth and gums. Until flossing becomes an integral part of your daily cleansing ritual, you will still be a stank-ass bitch. My fabulous dentist Dr. Belinda Poon of Cheers Dental Care will probably agree.

Now we come to postnasal drip. If your body is toxic (oh for instance, from consuming vast amounts of alcohol regularly) you will produce excess mucus, and it accumulates in the throat or back of the nose. When it’s sitting there for a loooOOooong time, the muck will fester and the odors will be FOUL and RANK. This is where nasal irrigation, a centuries-old yogic practice, comes in to save the day. If a neti pot is too much work for you, all you have to do is buy a bottle of saline solution for contact lenses. I use Softwear Saline Plus from CIBA Vision, a preservative-free, isotonic, aqueous saline solution. In the mornings and before going to bed, I squeeze three-four streams of saline solution from the plastic bottle up my nostrils, and then spit all the dislodged slime out. Clear.

If the thought of saline nasal irrigation scares you, eating more fresh fruit will help dislodge some mucus buildup. Oh and you’re a wuss.

Great. Now that I have penned this column, I’ll have to make sure my mouth smells minty fresh for every event I go to.


A version of this piece was first published in HK Magazine.

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